Judge William Lee has felt the burn and he likes it.
Our reviews of The Biggest Loser Workout: 30-Day Jump Start (published January 3rd, 2010), The Biggest Loser Workout: Last Chance (published January 3rd, 2010), The Biggest Loser Workout: Boot Camp (published February 14th, 2009), The Biggest Loser Workout: Volume 2 (published January 3rd, 2007), The Biggest Loser Workout: 30-Day Power X-Train (published January 20th, 2013), The Biggest Loser Workout: Cardio Max (published August 21st, 2008), and The Biggest Loser Workout: Volume 1 (published January 25th, 2006) are also available.
Transform your body and your life!
There are very few reality TV shows that I'll watch and The Biggest Loser isn't one of them. The premise of making a group of obese people compete against one another for a cash prize seems a bit too exploitative for my tastes. Reading about how contestants will resort to dangerous dietary and exercise habits to achieve results is further proof that the show isn't exactly encouraging healthier lifestyles. Still, there's something to be said for a good physical workout and the NBC series has spawned a franchise of fitness DVDs. The latest is The Biggest Loser Workout: Cardio Max Weight-Loss. This is a medium- to high-intensity workout designed to get participants moving and their hearts pumping for a long duration. In other words, it doesn't target any specific area of your body, but it'll make you sweat.
The show's training expert, Bob Harper, guides us through the bulk of the routines by calling out directions to a cast of plus-size exercisers. Ex-contestants Tara Costa and Sione Fa assist by leading some of the exercises. You can choose to simply play through all five modules of the disc or select a combination in the Maximum Results Program. This option plays the five-minute Warm-up chapter, followed by the appropriate combo of workouts designed Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, and then concluding with the five-minute Cooldown.
Bob Harper leads the main Level 1 module (27 minutes) and it is moderately challenging. The moves aren't complicated or very fast but their gradual layering taxes all the major muscles. It didn't take long before I was sweating. The fastest move is double-time jumping jacks but even the slow sections aren't easy. After 15 minutes pumping hand weights, just a few push-ups can be a struggle. This is a good workout that is challenging enough but accessible for beginners. Viewers of average fitness will still find the variety and intensity of the exercises satisfying. As the core module on the disc, this one has high replay value.
Sione and Tara lead the Level 2 module (11 minutes), which is definitely a step up from the previous one. Add this to the Level 1 workout once you're ready, sometime in the 3-4 week period assuming you're hitting these exercises regularly. There is a lot more movement this time compared to the relatively stationary Level 1 routines so you'll need more room to jump around.
Bob returns for Level 3 (11 minutes) and you'll really earn your stripes if you can keep up with his instructions in this add-on during weeks 5-6. There are more dynamic movements, more balance and coordination requirements and more push-ups!
The picture and sound quality of the disc are fine. The exercises are quite easy to follow thanks to Bob's clear instructions and the uncomplicated camera work that sticks to a handful of well-chosen angles. The dark green tones of the set are relaxing to the eyes and make it easy to see what the other cast members are doing. The techno background music stays in the background so Bob's directions are easily heard. I almost forgot about the music much of the time as it reminded me of a looping video game soundtrack. The second audio option is music-only if you no longer want to hear Bob's comments.
A pair of hand weights is the only (optional) equipment you need to follow along with these exercises so you can get moving immediately. I would like to see some more purposeful stretching in the Warm-up routine but that's my personal training preference. The Level 1 module is well suited to infrequent exercisers that want to improve their cardio but beginners can follow the example of Lisa, one cast member who demonstrates a modified version of the exercises, until they're up to speed. The add-on modules are good next-level challenges so this DVD should get some regular play in your home workout routine.
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